MY LIFE AS I LIVE IT
I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.
- Name: kathi
- Location: Dallas, Texas, United States
Friday, January 26, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The Story of Old Yeller
So, this is the car that Christian Brothers didn't fix.
We have Coley at Bankston Ford in Frisco to thank for putting the new engine in and making it run like a brand new car. Thanks, Coley, gotta give you some praise guy, you're one heck of a mechanic and we greatly appreciate how available you have made yourself to us and for your honesty.
We also have Ray Huffines Chevrolet in Plano to thank for the new engine. Not a rebuilt, a new engine at an excellent price.
Christian Brothers probably wasn't responsible for Casey's car losing the oil, or for the engine locking up, or for any damage that may have been caused as a result. There isn't anyway to tell, and I'd rather give them the benefit of the doubt than to falsely accuse. I can say that I did not appreciate the way we were treated, the many, many times they changed their mind on what they would and wouldn't do for us, for attacking my personal relationship with God because I'd contacted Corporate and the Better Business Bureau for help when they'd told me that there was nothing they'd do for me, or for condemning my right to write whatever I want, especially since every word I write is true, on my blog. Yes, Corporate had apparently became aware of my blog because they keep an eye on what is written about them on the internet...at least that's the way the head of our local Christian Brothers explained it to me as he turned his monitor on and revealed my blog on his computer in his office. As for ever hearing from Corporate regarding the letters and the faxes I'd written them, I never had any type of response from them. None.
Christian Brothers first told Casey and I that we had two options; take the car 'as is' after they lubed the locked engine generously and got the engine running, and they wouldn't charge us for the tow to get the car to their shop or for the work they'd put into it to get it running, or for a little under $1000 they'd try to repair the rod bearings, but couldn't guarantee that would solve anything. I told them I'd like a new engine put in the car and they printed off an estimate for that too for near $2500. That was the option Casey and I wanted. They told me they'd work with me to pay it off, that I could pay for it as I had it and Casey and I left there that day feeling hopeful... really hopeful.
A couple of days later they called and asked us to come in again. We went back in and they told us they'd changed their mind about putting the engine in, that it was an old car and there were other things that could go wrong with it, like tires (yeah), or the transmission, brakes, whatever. We still wanted a new engine put in and was told that if we did that, I'd have to pay for it within 90 days. So, we decided to cash Casey's saving bonds in to get the engine.
Another couple of days go by and they call and asked us to come in again. This time we're told that they will not put an engine in it, period. They told us that if we'd take the car and just go (and drop the claim against them with the Better Business Bureau) they'd give us $400, or or we could have them replace the rod bearings which may or may not fix it, and they'd knock $400 off it. Even if it didn't fix it, I'd still have to pay $696.89.
So, Casey and I were feeling like we were on some sort of roller coaster.
The next day, another call from Christian Brothers and another option. If we chose to have them repair, replace...whatever, the rod bearing and it didn't fix it, we wouldn't have to pay them anything. If it did fix it, we paid the $696.89.
By this time, we didn't trust them to do anything and frankly, just thought we'd better get the car, the $400 and call it quits before they changed their minds again.
Casey's dad got a trailer and had it hauled to where he knew of Coley, a mechanic at Bankston Ford in Frisco, who would be able to do it at the dealership and they were able to get the engine from Huffines in Plano. Everything came together great.
Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts and inquiries about Casey's car. Every time I drive this car, I'm so jealous. Katy and I were laughing about it last night, it's honestly like sitting on a big, comfy, overstuffed couch, gliding down the road. It feels like it turns with out your having to put any effort into it at all, and it's brakes are excellent. I'd much rather have this car than mine, though I love mine too. It's the exact same car, just not as old.
So, here it is, one more time, for your viewing pleasure and with much thanks and gratitude for all your concern...
Casey and his 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Braugham
Charlie pulls this pink slip out of his pocket and gives it to me. It's a copy and the print isn't clear enough to read, so he starts his tale.
Charlie and his best bud, Keith,
walked over to a friend of Charlie's who had borrowed Charlie's cd player a few weeks ago. The kid lives about 8 ~ 10 blocks away. So, he and Keith walked over there, talked to the kid for awhile and got the cd player. Then the kid and his mom are going to leave for the library, so as they're leaving, Charlie and Keith are saying their goodbyes talking to them through the car window. As their friend and his mom start to pull off, a police car pulls around the corner, stops and the officer gets out with his hand near his gun and yells at Charlie and Keith to stop and get their hands out of their pockets.
This is what angers me, Charlie's friend and his mom just pull off and leave. I've got issues with this mom now, but that's a whole other story.
Anyway, apparently poor Keith doesn't get his hands out of his pockets quite fast enough. Keith is this sweet and extremely shy kid. Trust me, shy. Catch him off guard and he looks like a deer caught in the headlights. Sweet kid. So, the officer is telling him to get his hands out of his pockets again while he keeps his hand near his gun belt, and then tells them both to put their hands on his car and spread their legs. Another police car pulls up and they begin to frisk Charlie and Keith, asking them questions about why they're in this neighborhood and who had they been talking to in the car that pulled off.
This is where I started laughing a little. Well, the part when Charlie was telling me about being on the car with his hands and legs spread and the policeman patting him down, because he told it so fully animated.
Charlie said that he tells the police that he was just visiting a friend from school to get his cd player back that the kid had borrowed, and the car left because his friend and his mom were going to the library.
Charlie said that after the police let them go, they'd gone straight to Keith's house instead of home because Keith wanted Charlie to help him explain to his mom what had happened. Keith's mom was all in an uproar and wanted to sue the police. Charlie's all excited, saying the woman thinks we could get a lot of money because of the way they'd stopped Charlie and Keith for no reason. I tell Charlie that if the police thought there was suspicious behavior in a neighborhood that had been having problems, then they were within their rights to stop them and ask what they were doing there. Yeah, I didn't sleep through those two semesters of Criminal Investigations a couple of years back... Keiths mom wants me to call her so we can plan our strategy, lol. Sorry, I'd rather find out what happened and why.
I called and left a message for the officer that signed the pink slip (a 'juvenile field inquiry') and he called me back pretty quickly. I explained who I was and why I was calling, that I wanted to understand what had happened and why. The officer told me that they were in a neighborhood that has a lot of drug activity. He said it's an area where they patrol often and have had a lot of trouble with not only drugs, but with gang activity. He told me that when he'd turned the corner and saw a car stopped in the middle of the street, two guys (Charlie and Keith) leaning in the car and one take something from the car (the cd player) and put it in his pocket and the car take off quickly, it was suspicious.
The thing is, I can understand this. Charlie and Keith are big guys, both 6 foot, and Charlie is close to 200 lbs, long hair, baggy jeans... Am I stereotyping? Sure, but I'm just saying that I understand why it happened.
Then the cop starts to tell me how much fun he had talking to Charlie. Huh? Yeah, I guess they stayed and talked to Charlie for about 20 minutes. Charlie forgot to tell me this. Charlie saw the cops name, and asked if he was the dad to a kid he knew. Turns out he is, so Charlie knows this cops kid. Charlie tells him he has this kid in one of his classes and that the teacher seems to always pick on this cops kid. The officer told me that he really appreciated hearing that because his kid had been getting into trouble a lot in this class, and his kid was always telling him it wasn't his fault, and Charlie had just given credence to what his son had been telling him. Then the officer told me that he and Charlie got to talking about music (what a shocker there, lol) and Charlie had told him all about his guitar and the kind of music that he plays. He told me that it made him feel rather old when Charlie called the music that he (the officer) still listens to 'classic' rock. Yeah, I know that feeling. So, we talked for quite awhile, with him telling me several times what a great kid I have, and how respectful and personable Charlie was. He said that Charlie had been a good way to end his shift, that I had a great kid there.
When I hung up with the officer, I told Charlie that he failed to mention that he'd 'made friends' with the cop. Charlie then began to tell me that, yeah, the cop was a really nice guy. He told me how he knew the cop's kid and got to tell him how the teacher seems to pick on him for no reason. Charlie told me that the cop seemed really interested in what music Charlie played and they talked about guitars and how they differed in their opinions of what classic rock is. Nice guy, Charlie says.
I explained to him why the policeman stopped him, I told him about the gang and drug activity that is in that area and that what the police had seen when they turned the corner looked suspicious. I didn't know that where this kid lived was considered a 'high risk' neighborhood. The officer told me several things that have happened there in the last year or so and how it's one of their higher patrolled areas. Good to know. I told Charlie that if he needs or wants to visit his friend there again, I'll be driving him and picking him up.
The thing is, I think this taught Charlie a couple of lessons. First, it was his own up close and personal 'scared straight' moment...just in case . Second, there are consequences for even the smallest actions, such as being in a "bad" neighborhood (which Charlie told me that, yes, he did know there was that sort of activity on that and surrounding streets, but he was only walking through to get to his friends house).
Charlie told me yesterday after school, that Keiths mom had quite a different reaction when she called the officer I'd spoke to. Apparently she'd called saying they had no right to stop her child and treat him like a criminal. Their conversation didn't sound even remotely like mine, but she's seeing $$ with this and I see it as a lesson to all of us. Mostly, that at any and all times, you may find yourself having to be accountable. That's not such a bad lesson to learn, especially at Charlies age. Let's hope he never forgets it.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Don't misunderstand me to say that life is perfect. Times are hard and life can be a struggle from one minute to the next. I do recognize, however, that my hard times can not compare to many of the worlds hard times. Trust me on this, I know how blessed I am. I know that according to the worlds standards, my children are spoiled. I know that my cupboards in my kitchen would feed a small village, even though my kids complain that there isn't anything good to snack on at times. And I won't lay it only on my children; I, too, am spoiled by the worlds standards. Sometimes I can't find anything to watch on one of our 6 televisions. But, by a small percentage of the world, we live like paupers. Our kitchen is slightly bigger than a hallway and our newest television is at least five years old.
2006 went out a little hard on me. Financially, physically... With my back out and not being able to move for over a week, it gave me way too much time to focus on myself. I'll openly admit, I got sucked into self pity. That led to many unwelcome emotions like fear, anxiety and depression. I wish it took as little time to get out of that rut as it does to fall into it. My perspective was out of whack. I may have pushed my blessings to the back burner, but they were still there.
It's up to me how I see my situation. Sometimes I see it in a desperate light, but thankfully those times are very infrequent and I honestly do reprimand myself when I fall into that pit of self pity. It happens to us all.
Hard times are brutal, no matter how good you have it. Whether it's financial and you've lost a job, whether it's getting your heart broken and having to start over in a world that's pretty damn scary, or whether it's your child being sick and feeling powerless to help them. Hard times are hard times, regardless of what you have or what you don't. We all have our personal burdens to carry.
One thing that I've found true in my own life is that the more I focus on others, the less I focus on myself. Maybe it's because I'm not bright enough to concentrate on too many things at one time, but the more I focus on others, the less time I have for self pity. Many people find that volunteering, or throwing themselves into projects that assist others help them to carry on when faced with tragedy's in their own life.
I am blessed. I've never watched my child's belly swell from hunger. I've never had to push the sum of my life in a cart down an alley looking for a place to sleep and stay warm for the night.
Call me poor...or call me spoiled. I suppose it depends on what you have or what you don't. Regardless of what you call me, poor or spoiled, call me blessed.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Too Cold For Texas
Betsy looked absolutely gorgeous, what a cutie! They had a great time, and I'm glad that Betsy's dad fixed Casey's tie for him, because between Casey and I, we pretty much had it looking like a great big bow, lol.
Well, winter has finally hit us and it's cold enough to where I had to turn on the heat. That was almost painful. We've each got two pair of socks on, long underwear on underneath layers of clothes and we look like we're fixin' to hit the slopes, lol. I went out to start my car this morning and couldn't get the door open, all my doors were frozen shut. Been a long time since that's happened to me. While I was out I had a lot of people tell me they'd had the same thing happen to them. I was afraid to pour hot water on it, would that shatter my window? I tried using a screwdriver to chip away at the ice around the door but was afraid I was scratching the paint. So, I just had to wait until the sun came out enough to melt the ice off. What do y'all say, my northern friends, how do you get a frozen car door open?
I know y'all are wanting to know about Casey's car. It's having a new engine installed (no, not by Christian Brothers) and we should be getting it back in the next few days. I think I'm looking as forward to it as Casey is. When we get it back, I'll take a picture of it with Casey and let y'all finally see Ole' Yeller and tell the tale.
That's about it for me. Hope all is well and that y'all are staying warm where ever you may be.
Friday, January 12, 2007
We're having some great fall weather here in my sweet little area of Texas that I call home. Yeah, I know it's winter, but they say we may still get a bit of that in the next few days. I love a cloudy, cool day. If you add some rain to that, darlin, I'm in heaven.
Ya know, sometimes we all feel a bit helpless. All of us. I'm assuming that everyone that reads my drivel on here is an adult (I'm being generous with Epsilonicus and Heart *teasing guys, I love you both*), and carries the responsibilities that life brings with it. There are relationships, responsibilities, bills, decisions every single day needing to be made that will have an effect on tomorrow, next week and next year. It's not easy. It doesn't matter whether you're 18 or 80, your decisions today will decide your tomorrow.
I've made some lousy decisions in my past. Seriously, lousy doesn't even do them justice. Starting drugs and drinking around 13, completely wasted my high school years. Carried those habits with me to college and wasted my time and my parents money my freshman year. Hitched around ending up in Florida, instead of going back to college my sophomore year. Met some decent people in Florida, but opted to live with the not so decent and wasted another year. Went back home and back to college, but on my own dime this time, and I took it more seriously. Working that summer between sophomore and junior years at college, I fell back into old habits and made the same bad decisions I'd been making all my life. School started without me and after awhile I ended up married to a guy making all the same stupid decisions I was making. I think the only reason we got married was because we were both trying to stop the other from sleeping with other people. Not the right reason to get married. Jealousy does not equal love. Neither one of us took the marriage seriously, but it lasted about 5 years. Two people, both on a road of self destruction...not a lot you can do to save it.
Somehow I just managed to cram 11 years into one paragraph. Sure, I left out details, but if you want details you'll have to buy the book. (No, there isn't any book) My point here is that my decisions set a pattern that I couldn't see, I was blinded to it because I was out of control. Did I know I was out of control? No. People told me I was, people who loved me...and people who didn't, but I didn't listen. I remember wishing they'd all leave me alone and just let me live my life. MY life. But you know what? Unless you're living on an island by yourself and you have absolutely no family whatsoever, living life for yourself and yourself alone is just not possible without hurting and even destroying the lives of others. It just isn't. Every single decision you make has an effect on your life and your life is a part of someone else's. Like it or not, that is just the way it is.
I watch my kids needing to make decisions of their own now. Sometimes I really want to step in, but they're not toddlers anymore and I can't force them to do what I think they should. I may try to suggest something, sometimes I'm greeted with an eye roll and an "I want to do this myself", and I'll step back. It's tough. *Okay, I don't step back 100% of the time, but if it's not going to kill them, lead them on the road to prison or cost me huge bucks, I do.* But we all have to learn our own lessons. My lesson for today is: Every decision you make is important. Weigh it, pray over it, ask advice...but make your decisions today with thoughts of tomorrow, because, sadly, you can never turn back time.
Do I regret the decisions I've made in my youth...and some more recent? I've always said that I didn't because they've made me the person that I am today. Recently, I've began to wonder if that's true. Regrets are useless and a waste of time unless they move you into action that benefits yourself or others. But, I believe that God knew me before I was born, and I was created to be that specific 'someone' that He knew. However, being human and having the right to decide for ourselves, well, we all fall short. Some more than others...and I fell way short. So, I fell, I got up, stumbled and fell again, and I'm up now. I make no promises for tomorrow, other than to promise to make my decisions as wisely as possible, not only for myself, but for those I love.
And if that was way to serious for y'all, did any of you catch 'The Office' last night? The boys and I lauged till we were crying. Funny stuff. Can I change a subject or what? :)
Hugs to all.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Live and Learn
This is a picture of what my sister-in-law, Gail, made me for Christmas (I know it's poorly taken, best I could do without a ladder in my condition, so hush). I love it so much. She found a great place for it in my home while she was here, in my entry way. She makes and decorates the crosses and the name plates, and she said mine should go at the top because I'm the head of my family now. I'd never thought of it like that, and it's all that more special to me because of it each time I look at it.
I also like how Casey and Charlie's names have so much in common. The scripture that accompanies Charlie's name plate , Joshua 1:9 (Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest) has always been one of my favorites and is something I remind myself of daily.
Y'all know there has been a lot of changes and some trying times going on in my home this past year. Some of the hardest for me is when I see it through the eyes of my kids. That's the toughest. Even though I try to shelter and cushion them from the harshness of what life has thrown at us lately, sometimes I see what it's done to them and it hurts. Breaks my heart, really, but I know that I can't keep them from seeing what's going on around them, and that it's all part of life and the learning process. However, as a loving parent, I just wish they didn't have to learn some things.
A few Sunday's ago at church we had communion and as they were passing it around, Charlie told me that he wasn't sure he should take it. When I asked him why, what he told me still tears at my heart. He said that he wasn't sure how he felt about God and being called a Christian anymore. Of course I asked him why, and he told me that it was because the people he'd always believed were strong Christians and claimed to love God so much had really hurt him, and he didn't know what he believed anymore. I asked him if he was talking about me, yeah...the 'me' mentality, but he said no and what he told me later...well, broke my heart.
And...then there is the thing with Casey and his car at Christian Brothers Automotive. I don't know if I told y'all this before, but the reason we took his car there in the first place was because when it was time for both of our cars to have their oil changed, Casey said he wanted to take his to Christian Brothers instead of where I've always taken our cars, to Goodyear in Allen, because he thought that as Christians we should support one another. Christian Brothers always has different scripture or biblical references out on their sign, and Casey looked them up on-line to see if they were Christian based. Well, their web site claims they are. Casey has learned a hard lesson this past month, and just like the lesson Charlie is learning, I wish I could have protected them both from what life teaches us in our own time...but even as a loving parent, you can't (and shouldn't) protect them from everything.
The lesson...people are people. Regardless of what label we may sew on to the shell of the person we are, whether we call ourselves Christians, believers, rich, poor, loving or kind... in time all will be revealed. In time, we can't help but reveal our true character. The only way to judge a person is by their fruit (their actions) and not by what label they pin to themselves. Sad, but true. There will be many that will deceive you, but it's important to not let the downfall or the the disappointment of others distract you from the way you should go.
Charlie took communion that Sunday, and I saved the cup that he drank from because it's the day that my baby chose to walk in his own light and not let the shadows others have cast keep him from doing so.
Casey...well, wisdom comes with experience, if you choose to learn from it. He has.